A new home for biomedical engineering teaching and research excellence

By Greta Harrison

The Melbourne School of Engineering has officially launched the new Department of Biomedical Engineering, bringing together expertise from leading researchers in fields such as mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, as well as medicine and mathematics.

The department will be home to 12 academics and 20 research fellows, along with around 60 research students, driving key research in medical technologies, health informatics and healthcare delivery.

Head of Department Professor David Grayden said that the new department would build on the University of Melbourne’s long and celebrated history of biomedical engineering research, from Professor Graeme Clark’s world-changing Cochlear implant, to the recent innovation, Stentrode device, an implant that will allow paralysed patients to move robotic arms with the power of thought.

“Bringing together a wealth of cross-disciplinary expertise into the one department located within Melbourne’s Biomedical Precinct at Parkville will enable us to achieve a great deal,” Professor Grayden said.

Biomedical engineers at Melbourne are pursuing leading research projects across a range of areas including:

  • Biomechanics and prostheses, including low-cost prosthetics for developing counties
  • Medical bionics, including the bionic eye
  • Neuroengineering, such as the Stentrode project
  • Injury biomechanics and rehabilitation engineering
  • Tissue engineering

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is also home to two of the Melbourne School of Engineering’s globally accredited masters courses, the Master of Engineering (Biomedical) and the Master of Engineering (Biomedical with Business). Students in these courses also take part in the BioDesign Innovation subject, which recently spawned successful startup company NAVi Medical Technologies.

Dean of Engineering, Professor Iven Mareels also helped launch the new department.

“Biomedical engineering has had an enormous history at the University of Melbourne, even before it became a department, so it was inevitable that the department be established,” Professor Mareels said.

The department will also continue to maintain a close connection with the Graeme Clark Institute for Biomedical Engineering, which coordinates the bioengineering activities across the University of Melbourne.

Director of the Graeme Clark Institute, Professor Mark Cook said that there were many benefits for medical researchers in pursuing collaborations with engineers.

“From a clinician’s perspective, the most exciting part of working with engineers is the way that they approach the problem, and how they approach the solution,” Professor Cook said.

For further information, visit the Department of Biomedical Engineering website.